Welcome to Episode 071 of the #PaxEx podcast, which tracks how the airline passenger experience is evolving in a mobile, social, vocal world.
In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby discuss how the novel Coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – is affecting the aviation industry and airline passengers, and they highlight how major airline associations are responding to the situation.
COVID-19 surfaced in Wuhan, China, but quickly spread and has now been detected in 60 locations internationally, according to the CDC. Global infections number an estimated 90,000, and Coronavirus-related deaths are being reported around the globe. The fallout has been swift. The transportation industry is taking a major hit, as airlines slash services, including to places beyond China, and offer change-fee waivers. It comes at an already challenging time for the industry, which has seen the Boeing 737 MAX grounded for a year.
Next, Air New Zealand has announced it is exploring a bunkbed-style option for long-haul economy class travel. The concept is called Economy Skynest, and it would offer six bunk beds in a capsule monument in the economy cabin. Sleeping berths are not a new concept in aviation, but they are certainly having a moment right now. Max and Mary explore why Skynest is such a compelling design, but also why it adds complexity to the booking process.
Last but not least, despite Coronavirus-fueled challenges to aviation and more broadly to the global exhibition industry, the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg was still on the calendar to go ahead as scheduled when we published this podcast. NOTE: The organizer, Reed, postponed the event on 5 March.
One of the highlights of the Aircraft Interiors Expo every year is the Crystal Cabin Award ceremony, which honors #PaxEx innovation. Max talks about some of his favorite ideas from the list of CCA finalists, and Mary details some of the big themes emerging.